Steel Steadies Ship

Thu 31 Jan 2013

Steel Steadies Ship

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Sungai Buloh, Selangor, Malaysia, January 31: Malaysia’s Iain Steel took a share of the halfway lead at the PGM CCM Rahman Putra Masters on Thursday, a week after missing out on an Asian Tour card at Qualifying School.
The Sabahan bounced back from the setback by shooting a four-under-par 68 to tie with Japanese Mitsuhiko Hashizume, who carded a 67, on an aggregate of eight-under-par 136 at the RM200,000 (approximately US$65,000) Asian Development Tour (ADT) event.
Local hope R. Nachimuthu was a further shot back after an effort of 70 at the event, which is the first ADT tournament to receive Official World Golf Ranking points this season.
Singaporeans Lam Chih Bing and Quincy Quek, who has won once on the ADT, Malcolm Kokocinski of Sweden and Uli Weinhandl of Austria trailed the leaders by three shots at the Rahman Putra Golf Club.
Steel has been suffering from a back injury for nearly two years and lost his Asian Tour card for the first time in 2011 since he joined the region’s established Tour in 2006.
He admits that changing career paths had crossed his mind when the opportunity to regain his Asian Tour card at Qualifying School slipped his grasp.
“I was kind of in the slumps after Qualifying School. Honestly, I didn’t really want to be here but after going through the practice motion, I was back in the groove again. I have a little bit of pride where I don’t just show up at events. Fortunately a few putts dropped today and I had two good results,” said the 41-year-old.
“After Qualifying School, I had thought of the future and it crossed my mind of changing careers. My wife keeps dropping hints and my dad keeps knocking on that door. But if my body is close to 90% then I think I can still be competitive,” he added.
But a pair of 68s after two days has provided a glimmer of hope in Steel’s career as he aims to finish inside the top three of the ADT Order of Merit at the end of the season to earn an Asian Tour card for 2014.
“It was a more difficult 68 compared to yesterday. I birdied all the par fives and had two sloppy bogeys. If I can shoot the scores that I’ve been doing then it goes towards my confidence. When you are shooting these numbers, the back doesn’t hurt quite as much!” Steel said.
A total of 54 players made the halfway cut which was set at two-over-par 146.
Leading second round scores
136 - Iain STEEL (MAS) 68-68, Mitsuhiko HASHIZUME (JPN) 69-67
137 - R. Nachimuthu (MAS) 67-70 »»
139 - LAM Chih Bing (SIN) 69-70, Quincy QUEK (SIN) 71-68 , Malcolm KOKOCINSKI (SWE) 71-68, Uli WEINHANDL (AUT) 69-70
140 - Carl SANTOS-OCAMPO (PHI) 74-66, Rory HIE (INA) 71-69, James LAM (PHI) 70-70, Wolmer MURILLO (VEN) 68-72
141 - Mardan MAMAT (SIN) 67-74, Zaw MOE (MYN) 72-69, Wilson CHOO (MAS) 69-72, Grant JACKSON (ENG) 69-72, Shaaban HUSSIN (MAS) 70-71, Masaru TAKAHASHI (JPN) 73-68
142 - P.Gunasegaran (MAS) 72-70, Lindsay RENOLDS (CAN) 69-73, Sukree OTHMAN (MAS) 71-71, Nick REDFERN (ENG) 68-74, S. Murthy (MAS) 68-74, James BYRNE (SCO) 71-71, Darren GRIFF (CAN) 74-68
About the Asian Development Tour
The Asian Development Tour was launched in 2010 with the aim of creating a career pathway for professional golfers in Asia. Sanctioned by the Asian Tour, the Asian Development Tour will ultimately create a new playing platform for emerging stars from across Asia and around the world. Through the Asian Tour Qualifying School, players will qualify for the Asian Development Tour and enjoy the opportunity to hone their games and talent through a secondary circuit in Asia. Designed in the same structure as the Nationwide Tour in America and European Challenge Tour, the Asian Development Tour is a stepping stone to the Asian Tour and the exciting world of international golf. The Asian Development Tour has been structured to ensure the best opportunities for its members. The leading three players on the Asian Development Tour will earn coveted Asian Tour cards for the following season, ensuring a proper career pathway for aspiring professionals. The ADT will also receive Official World Golf Ranking points from 2013.